Henkelman & Baca Motorsports: Cory McClenathan ...
Henkelman & Baca Motorsports: Cory McClenathan #1 at NHRA Mac Tools
Qualifying: Cory McClenathan
48th annual NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals
Indianapolis Raceway Park -- Indianapolis, Ind.
Session #1 Friday: 4.553 seconds at 322.34 mph (#1)
Session #2 Saturday: 4.868 seconds at 245.90 mph (#1)
Session #3 Saturday: Did Not Run (#1)
Session #4 Sunday: 5.458 seconds at 173.78 mph (#1)
Session #5 Sunday: 4.730 seconds at 315.56 mph (#1)
Cory McClenathan earns first #1 of 2002 and 27th of career.
CLERMONT, Ind.. -- If you ask most any NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series driver to name the race they want to win above all others the near unanimous answer would be the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. But to race for the title at Indy you first have to qualify.
After three grueling days of qualifying and five qualifying sessions at the 48th edition of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the four professional categories has been narrowed to the 16 quickest drivers.
In Top Fuel Cory McClenathan led all challengers. Cory McClenathan, from Anaheim, Calif., driver of the special Indy edition Mac Tools Stars and Stripes Top Fuel Dragster, fielded by Henkelman & Baca Motorsports, earned his first #1 position of the 2002 season and the 27th of his career. His last #1 was at Chicago in 2000.
On Friday, Cory McClenathan took the #1 spot in Top Fuel. McClenathan blazed the IRP quarter-mile with an elapsed time of 4.553 seconds at a speed of 322.34 mph to claim the top spot. The E.T. was McClenathan's best of the 2002 season and would subsequently be his best of this event.
"We're really happy to get off to a good start and get that run in for Mac Tools. This is really a shot in the arm for us," reflected McClenathan on the run. "We've worked real hard to get this car ready for this event. I'd like to go out (on Saturday) and run close to it (that number) to know it's not a one-time thing."
Sitting out the final of two qualifying sessions on Saturday, McClenathan held onto the top spot at the end of day two
"I thought that someone else might be able to put up quicker times," said McClenathan. "We just had everything together on Friday's run so we decided to wait to run until tomorrow (Sunday) when basically that's the kind of times we'll be running on Monday and concentrate on that and not worry about the night stuff."
Sunday's qualifying was run under 3-H conditions -- Hot, Hazy, and Humid. The results was no basic change in the qualifying grid, with McClenathan holding the top spot after the dust cleared.
When eliminations get underway tomorrow, McClenathan will be vying for his third U.S. Nationals victory. Cory Mac took home the Top Fuel trophy in 1996 and 1999. His opening round opponent will be Yuichi Oyama, from Tokyo, Japan. Oyama qualified 16th with a pass in the final qualifying session of 4.760 seconds at 292.39 mph. The pair have never met in competition.
"This is huge for us because it is the first time all year that we're the No. 1 qualifier and we do it at Indy in our Stars and Stripes Mac Tools U.S. Nationals dragster," McClenathan said. "Myself, David (Baca) and the whole team worked hard through testing and all of last week to get things done and get the car right. This really makes everyone happy. This puts us in a good position for the race tomorrow, but no round win comes easy."